MOD is at a crossroads - and needs your input

I don’t know whether to be happy that discussions are getting to real, constructive issues or sad because it took a random guy in the internet like me to bring some of these facts out in the open, after the company went titsup.

You’re welcome.I hope all these discussions can help getting the project back in track, assuming the reboot is successful.

A lot of times, when people proposed some neat ideas or asked for improvements, the answer wes “we’re a small team and we can’t now devote time on that”.

While I’m absolutely sure that the answer was true, it was the first thing that something was really messed up on the management sector. If your staff is constantly undermanned, the management did not correctly assess the resourcs needed for the project to work properly.

Some of the issues I mentioned in previous posts are of a magnitude that I wouldn’t have the devices leave the design table before they were implemented or fixed. So the flaws on the project IMHO are mostly due to the people at the helm of the company, and go back to the kickstart campaign, where they did not correctly estimate the importance of some hardware (onboard bluetooth and/or wifi) and software (UX and mobile first approach) and consequently the costs and neeeded personnel in the team.

I really hope that the project can survive and reboot in some way, and hopefully with the same tech team in force, even if I think most of you are already leaving. What I think that should happen, though, is some change in the managing team. Because the same ship with the same navigator will hit again the same rocks in its second voyage.


If I’m not wrong, some dedicated “smart” midi controllers use some MIDI tricks to work around this, like the controlled device sending sysex nessages or messages through a specific MIDI channel to the control device which are interpreted and used to update the status of the controls.

Of course the control device and controlled device must “speak the same tongue” for this to work.

The ControlChain protocol and devices proposed by MOD I think were a way to assess and solve this issue, but at the end did not deliver, because, frankly, buying a 4 switch pedalboard at that just to have the controlled parameter showing up in the LED displays is way too expensive IMHO.


I think it would have had a larger user base. Don’t have idea how much larger, but a bit larger.

The real game changer would have been, though, a competitive premium pedalboard store to download from. That could maybe make the user base grow large enough tor the project to pass that breaking point where it could wald sure in its shoes and gain traction by word of mouth and media reviews.

If the project wants to recover, assuming it still primarily wants to target guitarists, it needs a consultant or team member devoted to just create pedalboards that replicate basic all purpose tones and famous iconic tones to download (some of those could even be under a paywall and generate some revenues).


That’s the basics but you need first high quality plugins because most of the times, with current available plugins, direct comparison with competitors just highlights lack of quality on mod side which emerges on crunchy tones. So, high quality plugins first, then AI based pedalboard builder to rule them all.


I don’t want to type a lot, I’ll just say that I was fascinated by the capabilities of the open platform that MOD devices are, before even owning one, and to this day I’m still a big fan, so I do hope that MOD’s legacy survives in some shape or form.

To answer your questions, I’d say go full business on the HW+core SW, but leave the door open for community-based plugins and ControlChain protocol and devices.

Take care, all the best to you and your family.

1 Like

Well, sure, good plugins are a must.

But on this matter, I read discording opinions in the forums in the past. Some say that the MOD plugins are inferior to the cometitors. Others say that MOD plugins are superior to most competitors.

I myself have actually never been 100% satisfied with my tones for the moment. But what if was due to my inexperience with the gear?

That’s where a reference premium pedalboard collection shines. An expert tone builder and MOD user could maybe create and showcase the real best the platform can offer. Then it’s just a matter of copyiond and tweaking.

the thing is both of them are true. There are unusable plugins and there is some really studio-quality ones. One of the things that I would encourage the Mod Team if the reboot happens is:

clean your store, please.

I mean, just because you have 100 drives doesn’t mean you’re gonna use those 100 drives. 90 of them are, sorry for this, crap. Stablish a filter in the next era, please. I don’t need to navigate through 700 plugins if just 70 of them are usable.

Also, order and organize them better. We don’t really need 25 different cab plugins (I know they’re from different plugins) if they do the exact same thing, etc


I understand the frustration, but the real world of people trying to bring a business from the ground up is nothing like what you think it is. I’m sorry to say it, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

If you think only when the situation is “perfect” that companies should ship products, then you need to think again. Entrepreneurs must take risks and make difficult decisions. The result sometimes is catastrophic, and that’s ok. If we only played safe on every move, then we’d never start a company. Nobody else would start a company, ever.

It sucks that Kickstarter can’t make it more clear that you’re not purchasing a product, you’re buying a promise. A promise that a small group of people will try figure out how to create something that another group of people said they want. It’s a promise, and everything is at risk on day one.

We’re being very transparent about the struggles and difficult decisions but we really didn’t have to. Most companies don’t and simply die quietly leaving a lot of frustrated users behind with no answers. Here you’re getting answers. I don’t expect you to agree with our decisions but I do expect you to try to understand rather than simply pass judgement without considering what you’re asking.


I’m not saying that I expect every product to be perfect when they leave the shop, although it would be nice if it were.

What I was trying to say is the shortcomings I listed are, IMHO obviously, so severe and evident that I’m surprised that the powers that be in the company were confident that it would not matter for the success of the product.

We’re not talking about little details or secondary features that can be fixed later with an update. We’re talking about functional and hardware issues that seem to have had an impact to many users, you included, as you wrote yourself.

Try selling a car with a bike handlebar instead of a steering wheel. You can still drive it but it’s not something minor that you can just overlook.

I think what is missing here is the realization that we didn’t know what would be the shortcomings of the product and platform until they became such. It’s easy to look back today and point to inevitable mistakes or sure signs and say: it’s obvious you shouldn’t do that. It’s not that easy to make those same observations as you’re living through them along with the struggles and difficulties happening at the same time.

Yes, we regret some decisions. But we also think we did the best we could with the information we had at the time. We certainly did with the best intentions towards our users, even if it doesn’t look like that sometimes.

Ultimately we could only find the outcome by taking a decision and pushing forward. Sometimes it’s a path with no return. And so we did…


I want to respond in a way that’s not too judgemental as I think everyone is trying to help which is great. I generally have a similar feeling as @acunha.

The conversation has turned a lot towards what new features would improve the platform. While its interesting, its not really helpful in this moment.

What @acunha was saying is that these feature requests are not new, they have been discussed already many times in the past and are all things that MOD wanted to implement but didn’t yet have the resources.

It’s not so much that MOD was understaffed or mismanaged, more that the expectations of the users far exceeded the capabilities of a small growing start up.

Even pedals from huge companies don’t offer that. It’s not a requirement at all for a minimum viable product. The Dwarf has a very marketable feature set. Of course extra things would be nice but aren’t needed for it to be profitable.

Maybe so, or just the management plan. But the focus should not be on new features but rather making the current feature set more profitable.

Suggestions like this would be great for an over funded, under staffed company. The reality for mod is quite the opposite though. The focus needs to become more narrow to reduce the number of dedicated team members until profits outweigh overheads. There’s no budget for an employee for every task. Many of the long awaited features are only held back by having somebody to work on them. Unfortunately developers don’t work full time for free

Exactly what is missing from the hardware that is so critical?

In short I just want to say that all the requests are things MOD agrees would be great but are not realistic to ask for in a time when the company is trying to work out how to even purchase back the existing IP. So I think that discussion about that would be more constructive right now


i agree, hindsight is always easier than foresight


Sorry, but the rocks you are talking about are a pandemic, a war and massive chip shortage? I think this team would have sailed to a better destination without those rocks. For me the original business model was sound, maybe missing selling plugins to other platforms (zynth, moddep). ModX for synths Dwarf for guitar bass looked fine back in 2020.
Keep it open source, reboot it on a cheaper hardware platform, get more people involved. If all goes bad it was/is a great contribution for open source audio tools and some one will build on that.
PS: from a burned two tier.


I am not really blaming MOD here, but rather making the comparison with a real pedalboard where you can check directly which effect is engaged or not. I have a FCB1010 and the problem with the LEDs is that they reflect the state of the switch on the FCB1010, and in some instance may not actually be in sync with what is happening on the board (for instance if you apply a snapshot which changes the state of a pedal, it won’t be reflected on the controller). That’s one of the reason why I researched a way to customize the FCB1010 by replacing its guts with an arduino or a Pi in order to be able to get the states from the MOD device and adjust accordingly. But of course I never found the time to do it.


This has annoyed me since the being of Looperlative. It would be really nice to have a programmable MIDI controller that also can take input from the device controlling it to set LEDs or maybe even put messages on a screen. Alas, there is no profit in this. It is mostly just us loopers that want this.


Hi @redcloud

that’s a topic I wanted to address for a long time. Could you be a bit more specific about what you think is bad in the current plugins. I mean : I’ve never own a valve amp and don’t really have a base for comparison, but what is wrong with gxSuperSonic for instance ? Or other Guitarix amp. Is that that they don’t replicate a particular style of amp faithfully, or that it simple sounds “bad” to your ears. I think these are two quite different sort of issues. One is about replicating a physical device to the closest possible detail, the other is more about taste and aesthetic.

I’ve seen this argument a lot in previous discussions (that MOD sims are bad), and I would like to learn a bit more about it in more detail.


I don’t think that the plugins sound bad, more that they lack the dynamics that you would get with profiling or Neural based stuff that is in turn based on real hardware. I would highly recommend that you try a decent valve amp so that you can truly experience the magic!

1 Like

Hard to explain, you have to test two devices in A/B testing. The feeling of supersonic is less natural although it sounds good overall. It’s kinda “once you go black you’ll never go back” thing.


Maybe this is related?


Very interesting !

1 Like